Hydrow vs Concept2, Which is the Best Foldable Rowing Machine?


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Hydrow vs concept2 - which is the best rowing machine

Mark Stafford

It also targets different fitness areas like cardio and strength building. Plus, a big bonus of the foldable types is that it’s compact and takes up little space in the home. 

In this review, we’ll be taking an in-depth look at 2 foldable rowing machine brands — Hydrow and Concept2. You’ll learn everything you need to know about them to see if they’re right for your fitness journey.

Why Choose an Indoor Rowing Machine? 

Here are some of the many reasons why people are choosing to use indoor rowing machines as their choice of home workout:

  • Rowing uses almost every muscle group in your body simultaneously, providing you with a full-body workout. 
  • It can help with a variety of fitness goals like weight loss, strength building, and stamina. One study found that rowing reduced body fat percentage and improved the participants’ overall fitness levels, with muscle strength showing the most significant improvement. (1)
  • It’s good for those that have joint issues because it’s a low-impact exercise. One study even found that rowing improved joint rotations in the elbow, shoulder, lumbar, and knees. 
  • Suits almost every fitness level — the rowing motion is easy to pick up. (4) 

Another plus of the 2 brands that we’re comparing (Hydrow and Concept2) is that they can be folded and take up less space when stored. 

The Hydrow is partially collapsible, and Concept2 can be easily separated into two pieces to take up less space.

Here, we compare two of the best rowing machines, Hydrow and Concept2.

These brands are suitable for home use, especially as Hydrow is partially collapsible, and Concept2 can be easily separated into two pieces to take up less space.

Hydrow review - best rowing machine

From $70 a month: Hydrow

Hydrow Rower

Hydrow is a premium rowing machine that also offers a wide variety of live classes.

The rower includes a 22-inch touchscreen display that can stream real-time or on-demand workouts if you are subscribed to a Hydrow membership. 

Hydrow uses reactive electromagnetic resistance to create a smooth and frictionless rowing experience. This is unlike traditional rowing machines, which may use loud fans or water to create resistance. 

It is partially foldable, but you will need to purchase an additional stand to store it once folded.

Offer on Hydrow Rowers

Up to $150 off Hydrow Rower Packages: Hydrow

concept2 review - best rowing machine

Best price: Concept2

Concept2 Rower

Concept2 is another high-quality rowing machine suitable for home use. It’s a little less high-tech than Hydrow, but the benefit is that it’s cheaper.

The rower works using air resistance, so you might find that it’s a little louder than the Hydrow when used at a high intensity.

Concept2 rowers have wheels for easy transportation, and they can be separated into two pieces for more convenient storage.

Best Price on Concept2

ModelD Rower: Concept2

How to Choose a Rowing Machine

When choosing a rowing machine for your home, essential things to consider include:

  • Machine size
  • Storage options
  • Noise levels
  • Your budget
  • Personal preferences (e.g. do you prefer high-tech gadgets or simple functions?)

If you live in a small space, it’s essential to consider size, foldability, and ease of moving the machine.

Noise level can be crucial if you’re living with others. So look for rowing machines that operate quietly, even at high intensities.

And overall, it’s best to assess what will best motivate you to exercise.

For example, if you feel more motivated with interactive lessons, then a larger screen and live classes might suit you. Or if you’re someone that likes convenience, then getting a machine with minimal setup steps may help you be more consistent. 

At the end of the day, the best machine is one that you will actually use.

Hydrow vs Concept2 Rowers: Comparison Table

Hydrow vs Concept2 - best rowing machine Hydrow rowing machine Concept2 rowing machine
Resistance Technology Reactive electromagnetic resistance Air resistance
Intensity Electromagnetic resistance levels from 1-300. Damper settings from 1-10 (which alter the airflow in and out of the tank). The more intensely you row, the greater resistance will be.
Rower Size 86″ L x 25″ W x 47″ H 96″ L x 24″ W x 30″ H
Weight 145 lbs 57 lbs
Frame Material Aluminum and steel Aluminum and steel
Weight capacity 375 lbs 500 lbs
Display 22” touchscreen PM5 Performance Monitor
Interactive Training Over 500 workout sessions on demand. None.
Heart Rate Monitor? Can be connected with Bluetooth Yes
Easy Storage Partially collapsible Not collapsible, but can be easily separated into 2 pieces
Price $2,495 Around $1,039.99 – $1,519.99
Shipping Cost Free $199.99 in the US
Shipping Areas US only from Hydrow website, available from retail partners in Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, and UK. Global
Refund Policy 30-day trial period offered with free returns. 90-day return policy (shipping costs not included).
Warranty Structural frame: 5-year warranty.
Components and labor: 1-year warranty.
Frame parts: 5-year warranty.
All other parts: 2-year warranty.
External Reviews 4.7 out of 5 stars from 5,678 reviews. 4.9 out of 5 stars from 7,221 customer reviews.
Special Offers Up to $150 off: Hydrow Latest offers: Concept2

How Long Do Rowing Machines Last?

The average expectancy of home gym equipment is generally around 7-12 years, but this can be much longer with proper maintenance.

How long a rowing machine lasts depends on the quality of the rowing machine and how often and at what intensity you use it.

Hydrow’s warranty covers the structural frame and upright storage kit for 5 years. The components (like the handle, strap, and seat) and labor are covered for 1 year.

Concept2 say that all of the parts on their machines are available and easy to replace if they experience wear and tear.

For their Model D and E rowers, their warranty covers the frame parts for 5 years and all other parts for 2 years.

Hydrow Rower Review

Hydrow review - best rowing machine

From $70 a month: Hydrow

About Hydrow

Hydrow is a premium exercise machine that offers more than a regular rower.

It’s one of the few rowing machines which uses electromagnetic resistance, whereas most others use air or water. This makes the Hydrow quieter and smoother to use.

When you buy the rower, you can also subscribe to the Hydrow membership. With this subscription, you get access to live classes led by world-class athletes.

Their goal is to provide a fully immersive rowing experience. So in these classes, you follow along as instructors row real boats on the water from various scenic locations. That way you can enjoy nature from the comfort of your own home.

Is Hydrow a Good Choice of Rower?

The Hydrow is a good choice if you’re looking for a premium rower that you can use to access interactive workouts.

It’s also quieter than other rowing machines and partially collapsible, making it convenient for home use.

These are the key benefits the Hydrow has to offer:


Hydrow Review

Immersive training with real rowers

Hydrow provide a Live Outdoor Reality experience through their streamed live and on-demand workouts. Hydrow Athletes lead these classes from the water.

Hydrow’s instructors are real rowers, and they say that many of them are training for the national teams. 



Wide variety of workout content

Hydrow provide a wide variety of workouts to choose from. These include: 

  • live rowing
  • pre-recorded rowing videos on demand
  • free form rowing journeys
  • on the mat workouts such as pilates and strength training for when you’d like a break from rowing.

This library is constantly being updated with new content.



Access to the Hydrow community

You’ll be able to interact with virtual teammates on Hydrow’s leaderboard. You can row and compete with other Hydrow members.


Hydrow review - best rowing machine

Quiet workouts

The reactive electromagnetic resistance used by Hydrow makes for a more silent rowing machine, as magnetic resistance is a frictionless technology.

Hydrow is quieter than other rowing machines, which use air or water resistance. 



High definition monitor

The Hydrow features a 22-inch touchscreen monitor, speakers, and electromagnetic resistance controlled through a computer.

Special Offer on Hydrow

Up to $150 off rower packages: Hydrow

£300 off UK orders for a limited time: Hydrow UK

How Does the Hydrow Rower Work?

Like all rowing machines, the core function of the Hydrow rower is to simulate the experience of rowing. 

But unlike other rowers which use water or air resistance to work, Hydrow uses electromagnetic resistance. This makes the workout a lot quieter and smoother as you pull. 

Another unique difference is that your monthly Hydrow membership ($38 per month), will allow you to access a whole library of live workouts from instructors actually out on the water.

How Much Does the Hydrow Cost?

A Hydrow costs $2,495. The price includes:

  • Free shipping.
  • 1-year warranty for home use.
  • Hydrow membership with unlimited profiles. That way, your whole family can use the Hydrow membership at no extra cost.

You can also choose between their 4 other packages: Basics, Essentials, Launch, and Works.


Hydrow Basic Review

Hydrow Basics Package

At $2,585 the Basics Package includes the Hydrow Rower, plus:

  • an under-machine mat

From $72 a month: Hydrow Basics


Hydrow Review

Hydrow Launch Package

At $2,865, the Launch Package includes the Hydrow Rower, plus, 

  • an under-machine mat
  • Polar Verity Sense Heart Rate Monitor
  • Jaybird Vista Wireless Headphones
  • Foam Roller

From $77 a month: Hydrow Launch


Hydrow review pro package

Hydrow Works Package

At $2,845, the Works Package includes everything from the Launch Package, plus:

  • Multi-use workout mat
  • 2 yoga blocks
  • Multi-resistance band set

From $81 a month: Hydrow Works

Does Hydrow Offer a Free Trial?

Hydrow comes with a 30-day risk-free trial for first-time customers, which means that you can return your machine within 30 days and get a full refund.

With the risk-free trial, you will not have to pay for the re-shipping charges.

How Much is the Hydrow App?

The Hydrow App can be downloaded for free. To access the workouts and create a profile you can use your Hydrow rower membership which is $38 a month after the first year (which is provided for free).

You can also access some of Hydrow’s workout content from your phone or iPad, even if you don’t have a Hydrow Rower.

This is done through the Hydrow Digital Basic subscription which costs $19.99 per month.

It is a cheaper option and the workouts are not designed to work with a Hydrow Rower, so the variety of workouts may be more limited.

Special Offer on Hydrow

Up to $150 off rower packages: Hydrow

£300 off UK orders for a limited time: Hydrow UK

Can You Use Hydrow Without a Subscription?

Although you can use the Hydrow rower without a subscription, Hydrow do recommend purchasing a membership if you choose to buy one of their machines.

This is because the membership is an integral part of the Hydrow rowing sessions. So if you’re not interested in the interactive workouts, this might not be the best rowing machine for you.

Without an active membership, your rowing machine will remain in ‘Just Row Mode,’ and the overall rowing experience that Hydrow aims to provide will be limited.

Hydrow review stand 1

Up to $150 off: Hydrow

Does the Hydrow Fold Up?

Hydrow is partially collapsible. You can fold the machine so that the screen is down against the body.

You can also save space by storing your Hydrow upright when collapsed. You will need to purchase the Upright Storage Kit for this at $80.

Hydrow review - best rowing machine

Up to $150 off: Hydrow

Hydrow Customer Reviews

Hydrow scored 4.7 out of 5 stars from 5,678 reviews on the independent review site Trustpilot.

The vast majority of customer reviews were positive. Reviewers reported that they liked using their Hydrow for a low-impact full-body workout.

Others appreciated the coach-led workouts.

Many said they felt this rower is good value for money and easy to set up.

Some users had issues with shipping and delivery, which seemed to be resolved by Hydrow. Once their machines arrived, they enjoyed the rower.

Here’s what a couple of customers had to say:

Hydrow Review - hydrow rower customer review

Hydrow Review - hydrow rower customer review

Is Hydrow Worth the Money?

If you’re looking for a modern rowing machine with interactive workouts and a quiet motor, Hydrow is worth the money. Their many satisfied customer reviews also back this up.

The interactive, live, immersive classes are particularly good for those that feel motivated by exercising socially. And the community challenges are a fun way to have some healthy competition as well. 

In terms of the mechanics of the machine, the electromagnetic resistance can make it quieter and smoother than more basic machines. Plus, the fact that it’s partially foldable makes it ideal for those that don’t like clutter or are living in small spaces.

Special Offer on Hydrow

Up to $150 off rower packages: Hydrow

£300 off UK orders for a limited time: Hydrow UK

Is Rowing Good for Your Back? 

Rowing can strengthen the trapezius in the upper back and the lats in the lower back, but you need to be careful of your posture while exercising.

Research has found that 30-50% of rowers whose training sessions on a rowing machine lasted over 30 minutes experienced an episode of back pain. This is most likely because they were using the wrong form when rowing. [2]

You should keep your back straight, and your core engaged when using a rowing machine and push predominantly with your legs.

Rowing does strengthen the back when done with the correct technique.

Hydrow vs concept2 - what is the correct rowing technique

Concept2 Rower Review

Concept2 is best known for its air resistance indoor rowing machines, which can be found in most gyms. According to Concept2, its rowers are considered to be the standard training machines for competitive athletes.

The Model D is the most widely used version of Concept2. It has been manufactured, with updates, since 2003.

concept2 review - best rowing machine

Latest offers: Concept2

Why Are Concept2 Considered the Best Rowers?

Concept2 is a reliable brand used by industry professionals. Their machines are known for their durability.

The main benefits of Concept2 rowers include:

Smooth gliding experience: Model D’s flywheel has a damper that adjusts the air resistance, meaning you have complete control over the resistance level as you row.

Simple design, easy-to-read performance monitor: The PM5 Performance Monitor keeps track of your heart rate, calories burned, distance traveled, as well as your pace and watts.  

Built-in programmable workouts: The monitor also offers programmable workouts and games, helping you stay motivated while exercising. 

Easy to assemble and disassemble: Model D can be taken apart for easy storage.

Large design: Concept2 rowers are relatively large, with a maximum user weight capacity of 500 lbs. They can accommodate even tall rowers.

Quiet enough to watch TV: Model D is not entirely silent, but it is much quieter than older versions of the rowing machine. You should be able to listen to music or watch TV at a normal volume during workouts. 

Warranties: It comes with a 5-year warranty for frame parts and a 2-year warranty for all other parts.

concept2 review - best rowing machine

Latest offers: Concept2

How Do the RowErg Model D Indoor Rowers Work?

Compared to Hydrow, Concept2 may not feel as high-tech. But it remains a good choice for anyone looking for a reliable rowing machine that does its core function well.

The PM5 Performance Monitor keeps track of your progress, and you can store this information in its internal memory or transfer it to a USB drive. Concept2 also offers an app that allows you to take part in live competitions and coaching.

The logistics of storing it are also very well thought out. The frame lock in the middle of the machine allows you to split into two halves without using any tools. And it’s fitted with wheels, so you can move it around easily.

How Much Do Concept2 Rowers Cost?

The standard RowErg Model D costs $1,039.99, and the RowErg Model E with tall legs costs $1,519.99.

Hydrow vs concept2 - which is the best rowing machine

Latest offers: Concept2

Concept2 Rower Reviews: Model D

The Concept2 Model D Rower scored an almost perfect 4.9 out of 5 stars from a total of 7221 customer reviews on Amazon.

Customers liked that this rower was simple to set up and that the instructions were easy to follow. And many commented on how durable it was too.

While most reviews do not mention any issues with the rower being too loud, a minority found that the noise was an issue.

Overall, customers felt that the Concept2 Model D was well worth the price.

Here’s what one customer had to say:

Concept2 model d review

What is the Best-Rated Home Rowing Machine?

Based on Amazon and Trustpilot’s customer reviews, Concept2 has a marginally higher rating than Hydrow – but the difference is negligible. Both have an average rating of well over 4.5 out of 5 stars from thousands of customer reviews.

Is the Concept2 Rower Worth the Money?

A Concept2 rower is definitely worth the money for anyone looking for a reliable and durable rowing machine for home use. 

Professional rowers use this brand, so you know that they create good quality products to high standards.

Concept2 is also relatively affordable, especially if you consider that their machines are designed to last a lifetime. 

The Concept2 Model D is a great choice for anyone with a small living space because it can also be quickly taken apart and stored away.

Concept2 Offers

Concept2: Model D

Hydrow vs Concept2, Which Rower Is Better?

Hydrow is better for those looking for a rower with low noise levels and a wide range of premium interactive workouts. While Concept2 is better for those looking for a durable and reliable brand at a more affordable price point, which is also simpler to use.

Overall, both Hydrow and Concept2 are excellent choices for home rowing machines. But there are some key differences when we look at them a little more closely.

Which is quieter, Hydrow or Concept2?

There weren’t any complaints about the noise level for Concept2, which works on air resistance. However, Hydrow may have a lead on this front because it uses electromagnetic resistance instead.

While you might not hear much of a difference for easier workouts, the noise increase might be more significant on the Concept2 when you start ramping up the intensity. 

Price comparison

In terms of price, Concept2 is clearly the cheaper of the two — the Hydrow is about double the price of the Model D. But it’s important to bear in mind that if you’re motivated from live classes, or prefer a sleeker looking design, then the extra you’re paying for Hydrow may be worth the cost.  

Which is more compact, Hydrow or Concept2?

Both more or less take up the same space when folded or separated (in the case of Concept2). But if you want to securely store Hydrow, it requires you to buy an extra wall mount (requires drilling) which the machine attaches to. So if you aren’t comfortable making any holes in your wall, Concept2 might be a better choice.   

Extras offered by Concept2 and Hydrow

Although Concept2 has its own app with workout suggestions and stats tracking, the Hydrow experience is a lot more sophisticated in this respect. 

It has a 22″ color touchscreen, you feel as if you are actually on the water as you work through its vast library of live and on-demand immersive workouts. This might work well for anyone who would feel motivated by being part of a community.

Which is likely to be more durable, Hydrow or Concept2?

Concept2 has a slight edge over Hydrow in this respect as it’s a brand that’s been around since the 1970s and is used by professional athletes for training. Many people have also remarked about how durable it is. 

In contrast, Hydrow was founded in 2017. But this isn’t to say that it’s not as durable a machine. It’s just that Concept2 has had a longer history than Hydrow.  

Overall, we’ve found Concept2 and Hydrow to both be decent home rowing machine options. So whichever you choose, hopefully you’ll enjoy more effective and convenient rowing sessions from the comfort of your home. 

Special Offer on Hydrow

Up to $150 off rower packages: Hydrow

£300 off UK orders for a limited time: Hydrow UK

Concept2 Offers

Concept2: Model D

Hydrow FAQs

Is Hydrow good for beginners?

Yes – Hydrow is suitable for people at any skill or fitness level.

Can you use Hydrow without a subscription?

Yes, although Hydrow do not recommend it.

What should my drag be on Hydrow?

Hydrow’s drag is set at 104 by default. They recommend starting at this level first as they say this drag level best simulates the feeling of really rowing on the water for most people.

Can you watch Netflix on Hydrow?

No, you can only use the monitor on your Hydrow Rower to follow Hydrow’s interactive workouts.

Where does Hydrow ship from?

Hydrow currently ships orders from their website in the US only. Outside of the US, Hydrow Rowers are sold by region partners.

Does Hydrow have Bluetooth?

Hydrow Rowers are Bluetooth enabled, so you can connect them with your Bluetooth headphones, hearing aids, and speakers, as well as heart rate monitors.

Special Offer on Hydrow

Up to $150 off rower packages: Hydrow

£300 off UK orders for a limited time: Hydrow UK

Concept2 Model D FAQs

How long will a Concept2 rower last?

Concept2 machines last for tens of millions of miles. For many people, they can last for 20+ years.

Where are Concept2 rowers made?

Concept2 rowers are made in their manufacturing facility in Vermont.

How loud is the Concept2 Rower?

If you’re using it at a high intensity, it can be a little louder than other kinds of rowing machines because it uses air resistance. It may sound a bit like a washing machine or dryer. Models D and E are significantly quieter than the old C and B models.

Special Offer on Hydrow

Up to $150 off rower packages: Hydrow

£300 off UK orders for a limited time: Hydrow UK

Concept2 Offers

Concept2 Model D

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